There's been several cases of bakeries refusing to prepare cakes for gay weddings that have made the news in the past year or so, and I never thought it was a huge issue, but now with all the controversy over North Carolina's religious freedom act, I thought I'd weigh in on the issue and see what everyone else thought too.
It seems to me that there's some valid points to be made on both sides of the issue. I don't have a full understanding of what all the North Carolina law entails, so I don't want to say whether I agree or disagree with that yet, but when it comes to the issue of the bakers, I think I might lean more towards supporting the bakers' case, assuming I understand the situation correctly.
Now, it's my understanding that, in these cases, the bakers are not refusing service to the people just because they're gay. In some instances, I've heard at least, the couple was a customer at the bakery before the wedding issue with no problem. The problem is the wedding: the bakers do not want to be forced to participate in something they believe is morally wrong. It's not that they're discriminating against gay people, it's that they don't want to be forced to support a gay wedding. That's something that doesn't seem to be accurately conveyed in the media. However, if I'm mistaken, please let me know.
Now, let's imagine a different scenario. Let's say the KKK is having an event. They want a restaurant to cater it, but the restaurant refuses because they don't want to support the KKK. Let's say the owners of this restaurant are white Protestants, people the KKK wouldn't have a particular problem with. Does the restaurant have to cater the event? Or we can take it even further. Should a black baker be forced to cater a KKK gathering? Should a homosexual cook be forced to help at a Westboro Baptist Church rally?
I'm not saying all of those examples are the same as the cases with the bakers. However, the same principle applies.
Another factor to consider is the fact that, in the case of the wedding cakes, there's no shortage of bakers. There's no reason, as far as I know, that they couldn't have gone to another bakery. This is not institutionalized discrimination where every business discriminates against homosexuals. At the end of the day, the only financial loss is on the part of the bakery for losing a customer.
Now, to be very clear, I'm in no way supporting discrimination against homosexuals simply for being gay. That would be wrong, and if there's something in North Carolina's new law that allows for that, it should be corrected. However, the owners of a business have rights too, and they should not be obligated to participate in something they disagree with.
I don't want to make it sound like I think this is a simple issue, because it's not. I don't have a solid answer as to how to tell the difference between religious freedom and discrimination. Your thoughts, and more information, are welcome
When comparing ATLA and LOK, critics of LOK often claim that, while bending in ATLA was incredibly intricate and complex, bending in LOK was overly simplified and simply benders "chucking the elements." While I can see how people might have started to get that idea from pro-bending, I believe that by the end of the series this idea should have been put to rest.
However, it seems that the idea that LOK bending is incredibly inferior to ATLA seems to have perpetuated. In this blog I'd like to do what I can to disprove that idea.
I'll be doing entries for all the elements.
First, firebending. LOK firebending's often accused of just being like kickboxing, all punches and nothing else. However there's some things wrong with this criticism.
First, firebending in ATLA involved plenty of punches and direct attacks.
As a few examples, there's plenty more:
It's not all fire whips and overly complex moves.
It's also incorrect to think that firebenders in LOK didn't have any fancier moves:
Both Mako and Korra (the two main firebenders in LOK) showed the ability to effectively use firebending to defend against other elements, mainly waterbending.
Azula's often praised for her use of fire jets, but Mako and Korra have both done the same thing repeatedly for enhanced mobility and maneuverability in combat.
Remember the fire daggers Zuko used in his first fight against Azula? They've got them in LOK too. Let's be honest, it was never particularly useful in combat, but it looks cool.
Zuko's breakdance move? LOK's got it too.
Just some random other moves that show firebenders doing things like ATLA, or doing things other than just punching fire.
I hope this was somewhat interesting and gets some discussion.
I'll be adding to this blog with sections for earth, water, and air as well. I just figured I'd start with fire.
Feel free to start discussing any of the elements-whether you agree/disagree with me, etc.
Any discussion would be helpful for me in writing up the sections on the other elements-so I know what kinds of things to try to include, etc. Also if there's anything to maybe be added to the fire section.
Next element up for discussion: earthbending.
When comparing ATLA and LOK earthbending, it is a bit easier to see some differences, and not acknowledging those would be a mistake. The prevalence of multiple subelements for earthbending (metalbending and lavabending) certainly added a new, more fluid aspect to earthbending. By the end of the series, all of the notable earthbenders in LOK also had a subelement, thus impacting their style and resulting in differences when compared to the pure earthbenders of ATLA. Probending also introduced some style changes to earthbending (though perhaps not as significant as it might appear at first), these being most notably exhibited by Bolin.
The Problem of Probending:
LOK probending sometimes gets criticized for supposedly changing too much about earthbending. Critics often cite Toph telling Aang that the key to earthbending was a firm stance, while Bolin told Korra that she needed a looser stance.
However, the rest of Bolin's advice to Korra is often overlooked. He's not saying a strong stance isn't important. He's saying that she needs to wait for the right moment to take that stance and strike.
Now, what does that sound like?
"Well, technically, there are eighty-five, but let's just focus on the third. Neutral jing is the key to earthbending. It involves listening and waiting for the right moment to strike."-King Bumi
Sounds an awful lot like neutral jing. The only difference in probending is that earthbenders stay fluid and in motion during the waiting and listening part.
"Earthbenders, they step, a stone jumps out of the ground, they smack it, and WHAM, it goes flying."
This step, smack routine is a central element of Hung Gar style earthbending. And guess what? It's present in probending too.
As a final note: when Toph instructed Aang on his stance, she was teaching him to earthbend for the first time. Bolin, however, was teaching Korra how to modify her bendng style. Korra already knew how to earthbend, she already knew how to have a strong stance. We've seen Bumi, Aang, and Toph earthbend without being firmly rooted to the ground-while it's important for learning to earthbend, they're clear examples that earthbenders can modify their style to be less rooted. That's what probenders like Bolin do.
There's also the problem of comparing LOK earthbenders to Toph. When compared, it's very clear that Toph's style is different from the style of LOK earthbenders. Simply from that, it might be easy to assume that, because of this, something about LOK earthbending was changed. But really, it's the opposite. Toph is supposed to have a different style, even from other ATLA earthbenders. While most earthbending is based on the Hung Gar style of Kung Fu, Toph's bending was based on Praying Mantis style. Her moves are intentionally unique, and LOK earthbenders are not supposed to mirror her style. Rather, they have more in common with the Hung Gar style used by earthbenders like King Bumi.
OK, on to a bending comparison. Usually LOK earthbenders get accused of just throwing rocks, sorta like firebending, rather than showing all the versatility of ATLA earthbenders. Sure, probending encourages a looser, more firebending-esque style of earthbending, so I can see where that idea would come in. But it's not like ATLA earthbenders never launched rocks at each other.
It would also be incorrect to say that LOK earthbenders never do anything except chuck rocks at each other.
Using earthbending to launch things or people into the air
Using the earth to trap people, by sinking them or encasing them
Fairly self explanatory
This would include the earth shield to attack maneuver
Wasn't really sure what to call this, but basically uprooting the earth or making a wave to knock opponents off balance
Bringing the earth up to strike an opponent
Using earthbending to propel yourself into the air
Stomp and Kick:
Just as described in the Avatar: Creating the Legend video on earthbending
Just some random, not chucking earth stuff
Of course those are hardly the only examples, merely some examples.
In ATLA, Aang was the only airbender, and he was a high-caliber, native born airbender who used it as his primary element. In LOK, there's quite a few more airbenders, which naturally is going to result in more differences in use and technique. This can make airbending in LOK seem very different from ATLA, and in a sense it is. However, had there been more airbenders in ATLA, it seems very reasonable that we would have seen more differences in style, as is the case with the other elements.
Usually people don't seem to have too much of a problem with Tenzin or his kids' airbending. When it comes to Zaheer, his style is certainly different from more traditional airbending, but that was done intentionally. Zaheer wasn't meant to be a master airbender or even a classically trained one. Rather, he was supposed to be a master martial artist who knew enough about airbending to use it as a weapon, modifying it's use to fit his style of fighting-not the other way around. So while his technique is fairly unorthodox, it seems to be fairly well accepted.
The problem usually comes with Korra's airbending. People claim that she just uses it like firebending or the other elements, being too direct and aggressive. And, to be fair, there are some good reasons for that. Her first showing of airbending against Amon was just her punching air blasts.
In defense of her airbending against Amon-that was Korra's first time airbending, she was't supposed to have mastered it yet. In the heat of the moment she needed a quick, direct offense, and it makes sense that she would resort to more firebending-ish moves. So while I can see why people wouldn't like it, it's understandable imo.
However, before we go on, I think it's important to realize that LOK isn't the first time airbending and firebending have had similar moves. If you've got a problem with these similarities, the blame should really go back to book 1 of ATLA.
The similarities are pretty evident in Zuko and Aang's fights.
Aang used direct attacks long before Korra.
Nor is Korra limited to simply punching air. I think people sometimes miss Korra exhibiting a variety of airbending techniques or the philosophies of airbending into her fighting style.
Much like her water spouts, Korra is capable of forming air spouts for maneuverability and combat purposes. This is an advanced move even Aang never showed until the comics.
Using airbending techniques to avoid attacks or using airbending to augment agility
Korra can and does use airbending for more than just offense.
Korra is not limited to straightforward air blasts when using airbending in battle
"The Ba Gua fighters are known for moving in a circle, constantly spinning back and forth."
While Korra's fighting style doesn't emphasize avoidance and evasion as much as Aang's, she can clearly be seen incorporating the circular movements of Ba Gua (the martial art that serves as a basis for airbending) into combat.
Just some random showings of versatility or other things.
Hope that's good for some discussion
Finally got around to finishing this.
LOK has no shortage of exceptionally skilled waterbenders, but even still it can be the subject of criticism, usually for being too direct or aggressive or...something.
Sure, waterbenidng's based on Tai Chi, softness and breath, I get all that. But it's not like ATLA waterbenders were never direct or aggressive
Water is the element of change. It's versatile, and it is not, nor should it be, always soft and gentle.
Nor were LOK benders limited to simply chucking water, kickboxing, etc. There was plenty of versatility straight from ATLA
One of the central principles of waterbending is using your opponent's attack against them, redirecting defense into offense. LOK waterbenders do this all the time
Katara demonstrated this technique rather frequently, and it's just as common in LOK
And do I really need to post gifs of Ming Hua?
This gets brought up a lot, I'm not entirely sure why. Aang and Katara each used it once, and never for actual fighting. It wasn't a particularly useful move.
Ming Hua, however, took the octopus form, modified it, and made it extremely effective, more than Aang or Katara ever did
Pakku was the only waterbender to really make use of waterspouts in ATLA. Korra does it often enough to practically be her signature move. Unalaq used the move as well
In ATLA, Katara used water surfing, ice ramps, and more to transport herself and others with waterbending. LOK has all of that too
Pretty straightforward, freezing an opponent: either a total flash freeze or just a partial freeze
May come back and add more, but this'll do for now. Let me know what you think
In this second part to my fight analysis blog, I'll be talking about some of the main fights from Season 1 of Legend of Korra. (Unlike my last post, where I did all of ATLA in one blog, I'll be breaking up LOK by season. That way it doesn't take as long).
So yeah, let's get started. Enjoy my incredible insight and brilliance.
That was sarcasm, btw.
1. Korra vs White Lotus Firebenders
The very first fight scene we see from Korra makes it very clear that our new Avatar is not Aang. Korra's aggressive, powerful, eager to prove her bending abilities.
This is the only time we see Korra in a fire vs fire battle, and she doesn't disappoint. We can see plenty of traditional fire bending is this fight-from offensive strikes to circular blocks.
While these fire benders aren't exactly high tier benders, they aren't incompetent fodder either. They showcase decent raw power and skill, above that of, say, your average Fire Nation soldier. Still, they are no challenge to Korra.
2. Korra vs the Triad
If you haven't realized yet that Korra will be a different Avatar than Aang, this fight scene should convince you. Korra sees an injustice, and she quickly steps up to put down the aggressors. She's strong, decisive, and confident-with good reason. In quick succession she takes down the three Triad benders in their respective elements, showcasing both her bending ability, physical prowess, and reaction abilities (Remember how Toph outreacted the Boulder? Korra essentially does the same thing here to the poor Triad guy).
Granted, once again, these guys are hardly high tier benders. They're not a challenge to Korra, merely an opportunity for her to demonstrate her abilities, all with a distinctive Korra flair. Waterbending involves redirecting attacks and shifting defense to offense-Korra does that with characteristic speed and directness. Earth bending involves neutral jing-Korra strikes the earth bender at just the right moment. Fire bending involves direct attacks and focused offense-Korra casually charges through the fire bender's attacks (and then physically overpowers him instead of using fire bending, but hey-it worked).
This fight also shows the consequences of bending battles when Korra inadvertently causes damage to multiple shops while subduing the Triad. Republic City is the most urban environment we have seen in Avatar, and the large scale bending battles more common to ATLA would have consequences here. There's a reason for benders to focus on more concentrated and (maybe) less powerful attacks.
3. Mako, Korra vs Chi Blockers
Ah, the infamous chi blocker fight. This is an interesting one.
Yes, Mako and Korra lost to a couple of no-name chi blockers. There's no denying that. But does it mean Korra's therefore a terrible fighter? Not really.
First, these chi blockers are quite good. Like, the closest we're ever going to see to Ty Lee good (that doesn't mean they're as good as Ty Lee, just the closest to her we see from the Equalists). They show impressive agility, making impressive leaps and dancing around firebendng attacks. They also have quite respectable chi blocking skill, quickly landing strikes on Mako and Korra to disable their bending ability. It's quite evident that these chi blockers are very well trained to deal with benders.
Second, Korra's completely unfamiliar with these kinds of opponents. She's spent her whole life training to fight benders, not chi blockers. She doesn't even know what chi blocking is, so there's no reason for her to expect it. This lack of knowledge leads her to underestimate the chi blockers, and by the time she realizes what they can do it's too late.
So yeah, Korra lost. But that is due more to inexperience and surprise than to weakness.
Really, if anything, it's kind of refreshing to see nameless opponents actually be skilled and provide a challenge. Not to mention the surprise revelation that the Equalists had chi blockers. They're dark, mysterious, and menacing, the complete opposite of Ty Lee. This scene makes it clear that, while Korra's enemies will be mainly non benders, they are well prepared and more than capable of taking on benders and winning. This is the first time we've seen Korra lose a fight, showing us she has her work cut out for her.
Also the Naga save-reminiscent of the multiple times Appa saved Katara and Sokka from the non benders Ty Lee and Mai.
4. Amon vs Lightning Bolt Zolt
This is the first introduction to Amon, and he quickly proves himself a formidable villain for the Avatar. He easily closes the distance against Lightning Bolt Zolt (who, from this limited appearance, seems to be a competent fire bender), even dodging Zolt's lightning from close range. Then he removes Zolt's bending, turning the merciful and just ability Aang gained at the end of ATLA into something dark and sinister. Korra's impressed, and with good reason.
5. Mako and Bolin vs the Lieutenant
This fight introduces us to Amon's Lieutenant, and it establishes him as a capable nonbending opponent. While they're not high tier benders, Mako and Bolin are at least capable fighters, and yet they're completely unable to handle the Lieutenant. He's fast, skilled, and dangerous.
Korra also showcases her decisive action in this scene. She doesn't waste time talking or announcing her presence, and she has no qualms about cheapshotting the Lieutenant, quickly taking him out and rescuing Mako and Bolin.
This sets up (imo) a bit of unresolved conflict between Korra and the Lieutenant, foreshadowing their fight on top of the pro-bending arena.
5. Korra, Tarrlok, task force vs Equalists
This isn't exactly a major fight scene, or a showcase of important bending or even significant opponents. However, I'm including it because it's so very different from the fights we got on ATLA. It's an organized raid, stealthy, quick, clean and efficient. It shows that the Equalists aren't the only ones who can use stealth and ambush tactics. Korra doesn't use her Avatar status, she just participates alongside all the other benders.
This also seems to establish an alliance between Korra and Tarrlok (let's be honest, did anyone ever really think Tarrlok was a good guy?).
Finally, this scene also establishes that not all the Equalist fodder are at the same skill level. While there are some who are as good as the ones that beat Korra and Mako, plenty others are still in training.
6. Korra, Lin vs Equalists, Lieutenant
Probably one of my favorite fight scenes from Book 1. Korra and Lin, who have never exactly gotten along, come together to fight back against the Equalists. They quickly develop into a solid team, with both of them helping the other out of jams.
Lin gets to showcase her fighting style for the first time in the show, and we get to see this new metalbending in action. Her cables are quick, efficient, and quite versatile, proving to be excellent weapons of choice.
The Lieutenant gets another significant appearance, stunning Lin as she attempts to grapple to Amon's airship. His electrified sticks prove highly effective weapons against metalbending armor (again, foreshadowing the Lieutenant's future fight with Lin on Air Temple Island).
Korra and the Lieutenant get their rematch here, resulting in a decisive victory for Korra. Unlike her fight with the chi blockers, Korra's ready for the Lieutenant's tactics, and she's ready to beat him at his own game. She combines her fire bending and hand to hand skills to dominate her intense close quarters battle with the Lieutenant, overcoming him.
Benders are usually mid-range fighters, and often closing the gap is the key for a non bender to be able to beat them. However, Korra shows here that she is more than capable of holding her own at mid or close range.
7. Team Avatar vs Hiroshi and Equalists
A very interesting fight scene full of revelations. Very intense and quite unique.
First, the introduction of mecha tanks. Legend of Korra has already shown significant technological advances compared to ATLA, but this is the most unique technology we have seen yet. Just as Korra was adjusting to fight the nonbending Equalist fighters, the Equalists come up with a new kind of opponent to challenge the benders.
While the mechs are designed to deal with all benders, they are particularly well suited to counter metal benders, as the electric attacks take advantage of their metal cables.
I'd like to take a moment to appreciate Lin in this scene. She's fast, intense, and savage, tearing into the mech and driving it backwards.
Both Korra and Lin get taken out, but both times it was by a surprise attack. Just worth mentioning.
Also Tenzin. People sometimes say that he didn't show he could fight until Book 3, and while to some degree that's true, he's the last man standing against the mechs here for a reason.
And finally, Asami. Major moment for Asami here as she comes to grips with her father's actions and chooses her side. She said she had martial arts training, but this is the first time we get to see it in action. She quickly takes out the Lieutenant, shocking everyone.
8. Korra vs Tarrlok
This is the first (and really the only) master level bending battle in Season 1. It's a change of pace from the bender vs non bender battles, and a chance for Korra to pit herself against a fellow master.
First, I'd like to point out that Korra doesn't immediately attack Tarrlok. While she's forceful with him, she doesn't start the fight. She hopes that he can be reasoned with, and he ultimately proves otherwise
Tarrlok demonstrates hight-tier skill in this brief fight. His water sphere is an impressive defensive display, and, like a master waterbender should, he turns this defense into an offense with his ice needles. It's a combo well suited to counter Korra's fire bending.
Korra showcases some impressive agility in dodging the barrage as well as respectable speed in blocking one of the needles. Tarrlok does score a hit, but it's not enough to hinder Korra. Tarok's barrage forced her back, but she quickly recovers and transitions from fire bending to earthbending. While Tarok's defense is quite solid against fire bending, it's ill-equipped to handle Korra's earthbending. Korra changes the environment and gains what appears to be a decisive upper hand. If Tarrlok were a normal waterbender, this would be checkmate.
But then Tarrlok pulls out his trump card: bloodbending. An ability even more unexpected than the Equalist's chi blocking, Tarrlok turns Korra's seemingly inevitable victory into a decisive loss. With his incredible ability to blood bend at any time, Tarrlok goes from a highly skilled waterbender to possibly the most dangerous bender we have seen thus far on Avatar (ATLA or LOK).
9. Amon vs Tarrlok (and Korra vs Equalists)
Tarrlok has had his moment of glory, but when Amon makes his return he reminds everyone who the main villain of this season is. Tarrlok just established himself as one of the most dangerous benders ever seen, but his seemingly invincible ability proves itself to be ineffective against Amon (for reasons not yet explained). With this encounter, Amon becomes even more mysterious and powerful than he already was. Korra, who can only hear this event, realizes she's in over her head. Tarrlok was already an insurmountable foe, but Amon showed himself to be even more dangerous.
While the arrival of Amon seemed unfortunate, it also ultimately benefitted Korra. The Lieutenant was looking for some revenge, but he doesn't get it as Korra's quick thinking and powerful bending enable her to escape.
Amon and Korra see each other as she's leaving in a brief, intense moment of recognition and conflict. Korra makes an effort to attack, but after being blood bent and trapped for some time she's hardly in peak condition. She recognizes that she can't face Amon, and she flees.
This fight establishes the idea that Amon may be a villain Korra can't beat in straight up combat. He's more powerful than anything we've seen thus far in Avatar, and Korra will have to find another way to overcome him.
10. Tenzin vs Equalists
Tenzin's first solo fight scene. It's brief and could be easily overlooked, but here's proof from Season 1 that Tenzin knows how to fight. His beard sense warns him of the Equalist ambush just in time, and a powerful airspout easily takes down his attackers, leaving Tenzin unfazed and ready to get back to business.
11. Team Avatar vs Equalist Mechs
Tenzin's been ambushed by the Equalists, and despite putting up a fight he's ultimately overwhelmed. Enter Korra and team Avatar, ready for a rematch with the Equalist mechs.
This time the mechs don't have the advantage of surprise, and while they're still a challenge team Avatar is able to overcome them. Korra gets a chance to showcase her waterbendng, quickly and efficiently disabling a mech. Meanwhile, Mako gets to demonstrate his mastery of lightning bending by redirecting the mech's electrical attack. Asami showcases her skill as she clears through multiple soldiers with ease, and Tenzin gets to demonstrate his strength as he one-shots the final mech.
12. Lin, Jinora, Ikki, Meelo vs Lieutenant, Equalists
Lin gets a chance to show her stuff in this scene, as she fends off the hoard of Equalist with a combination of earthbending and metalbending. She's a capable warrior, dealing with opponents from all sides and more than holding her own.
When the Lieutenant arrives, he gets a chance to demonstrate his own skill. Throughout the series we've seen the Equalists prepared to take on benders, particularly metalbending cops. Nothing shows this better than the ease with which the Lieutenant counters Lin's metalbending attack by shocking her through her cables, almost as though his shock sticks were designed for just such a move. Lin's good, but she's facing an opponent who's well prepared to counter her exact style.
What the Equalists were not ready for, however, was the attack of the airbending kids. In a dramatic rescue, Jinora, Ikki, and Meelo prove themselves to be excellent air benders and fighters, taking the Equalists by surprise with moves they were unprepared to go up against.
13. Korra, United Forces vs Equalists
Once again, the Equalists demonstrate their prep and innovation, abilities that have consistently been crucial to their success. Hiroshi reveals his newly designed airplanes, surprising the United Forces and Team Avatar.
Korra gets to show some skillful waterbending, taking out multiple planes on her own.
Iroh II also gets to make a memorable first appearance, using skillful fire bending to shoot down planes and punch a missile (granted, that didn't go too well for him, but still. He punched a missile. That's pretty cool).
Ultimately, it's clear that the Equalists will win the fight, and Korra makes a strategic retreat with General Iroh.
14. Korra, Mako, Tenzin vs Amon, Equalists
Korra's final encounter with Amon and the final fight of the series. A lot happens here.
Part 1: Rescuing the Airbenders
Somehow Amon managed to capture Tenzin and his family (it's never actually explained how), and it's up to Mako and Korra to rescue them. Mako showcases his instant lightning, and together he and Korra use some nice fire bending to reach the stage and engage the Equalists.
Tenzin quickly joins the fight after he is freed by Korra. He proves his worth by managing to blast Amon off the stage with a nice widespread attack.
With Tenzin having cleared the way, the group makes their exit. Tenzin and kids go to rescue Pema and the baby, while Mako and Korra separate to get Amon to follow them.
Part 2: Removing Korra's bending
Korra and Mako know about Amon's blood bending abilities, and now he knows that they know. With no reason to hide his abilities, Amon easily subdues Korra and Mako, rendering both of them helpless. He then removes Korra's bending, fulfilling his early threat to destroy Korra. After all, what is the Avatar without the ability to bend all four elements?
The Lieutenant makes his final appearance, and it's an interesting moment between him and Amon. We see the Lieutenant's sincerity about the Equalist cause, and the pain Amon's deception caused him. This is the first time we get to start to see the Lieutenant as a character instead of just an opponent to fight. He tries to attack Amon, but it's useless, and Amon casually tosses him aside. There's no love for the Lieutenant to be had from him.
Finally, there's Mako. He's the last person Amon's worried about, but that's a mistake Amon will regret. While Amon's been removing Korra's bending and dealing with the Lieutenant, Mako's had a chance to work against the blood bending ever so slightly, managing to get in just the right position to unleash a bolt of lightning on Amon. It's an impressive skill showing for Mako, and it allows him to make a brief escape with Korra.
Part 3: Korra airbends
Ultimately, however, Mako's effort was not enough to escape Amon. He catches up with them and prepares to take Mako's bending, knowing this time not to underestimate him.
Korra, watching this, finally manages to overcome her airbending block. With her other bending abilities removed, airbending is all she has left, and, to the surprise of everyone, she is able to use it to separate Mako from Amon. Taking advantage of Amon's surprise, she buffets him with repeated blows. He attempts to stop her with blood bending, but his hold is not complete, and she is able to blast him out the window.
When Amon lands in the ocean, his mask and fake scar are washed off. Acting on instinct, Amon comes to the surface on a waterspout, accidentally revealing his bending to all of the onlookers.
Korra did not beat Amon in a bending battle. She "beat" him by causing him to reveal his deception and lose his followers. With his authority broken, Amon has no reason to stay. He could have finished Korra and Mako if he wanted to, but he chose otherwise.
Not exactly your usual finale fight
Well, that's what I've got for Season 1. Enjoy. Season 2 will be out at some point in the future.
So, for this blog, I'm gonna deviate from comparing the two shows and instead give my analysis of some of the major fights in both shows. Hope you find it interesting, maybe something worthy of some debate, etc.
The fights I'm gonna try to focus on are ones where:
The outcome was inconclusive/is debated (including ones where I see a clear victor but others might not/have not agreed)
Important character progression/development was shown
Something else about the fight is important
I just like the fight and want an excuse to talk about it
If possible I'll include a video of the fight I'm talking about, if not I'll try to include a picture or something.
So, let's get started
ATLA Book 1
1. Zuko vs Zhao
Zuko was introduced as the villain in the first episode of ATLA, and by the third episode we're already rooting for him to win like we would the hero. Gotta give the writers props for that. This is when Zuko starts to become an interesting character, more of an antihero than a true villain.
Compared to later fight scenes, this one's pretty basic. But if anything that makes this fight even better. We get to clearly see the Kung Fu basis of firebending quite clearly here.
The music is also very cool. I wouldn't be able to match many songs to the fights they were played in, but I recognize the Agni Kai theme.
It also seems appropriate that the series begins (sort of) and ends with Zuko in an Agni Kai.
2. Aang vs Bumi
I love this fight. For the first time in the series, we see two high-end master benders do battle, and it doesn't disappoint. Bumi pushes Aang to his limit, countering his airbending better than anyone had been able (or would be able) to do. He's the only legitimate challenge Aang faces in Book 1, and as a result, we get (I believe) the best fighting we see from Aang in book 1.
Plus anything with King Bumi is great
3. Aang (Appa, Katara) vs Zuko (June, Nyla)
This is the fight from Bato of the Water Tribe, where Zuko hires June and the shirshu Nyla to track down Aang. This fight is probably the longest, most evenly matched fight we see between Aang and Zuko.
I picked this fight as an important one for several reasons. One, it makes the martial arts basis of bending very clear. You can see the Kung Fu and Ba Gua in the gif above.
For those who haven't seen this video about martial arts and bending
I think the evenly matched nature of the fight shows a few things. One, Zuko is learning how to fight someone with Aang's style. He's keeping up with Aang's agility (not matching it, but not getting completely left behind either), avoiding his attacks, etc. It also shows that Aang is getting more accustom to fighting. He's by no means violent, but he is getting more comfortable with taking the offense and directly engaging an opponent. It is also an excellent example of how Aang holds back. While Aang is attacking Zuko in this fight, he is by no means using his full power. The gusts of wind he is sending at Zuko pale in comparison to his rock-shattering kicks or the tornado he used against Bumi.
4. Katara vs Pakku
Sorry it's a music video, but it was the best I could find easily.
Anyway, Katara vs Pakku. First waterbending battle, and one of 2 water vs water fights we get in the series. Definitely very different from the other fights we've seen so far, showing the Tai Chi elements. Katara hasn't been much of a fighter for much of the season, but in this fight we get to see how far she's come. While she's no match for master Pakku (who is really toying with her through most of the fight), she's come quite a long way, enough to impress Pakku. This is an important transition point for Katara becoming the bending powerhouse she is by the end of the series.
It is important to remember that Pakku was not seriously fighting her during this. When he decided the fight was over, it was over. This is not an insult to Katara's skills, but there's only so much you can learn from a single scroll. I've heard people try to say that Katara beat or held her own against Pakku, when that's really not the case.
5. Katara vs Zuko
This is the fight where we really get to see Katara shine and dominate. She's been training with Pakku for a while now, and it shows. Zuko is unprepared to fight a highly skilled waterbender and is taken aback by her abilities. She basically dominates the fight, though ultimately loses when Zuko surprises her by recovering with the sunrise. As a combatant, Katara still has some room to grow (she let her guard down and it cost her), though her bending skills are top notch.
ATLA Book 2
1. Aang, Katara, Sokka vs Huu
First, I'd like to take a moment to appreciate Huu. If I could pick one bender to see more of from ATLA, it would be this swamp bender. The guy is truly a master in terms of his strength and skill. He's like Iroh (both achieved enlightenment) and Toph (both invented/developed a unique style of bending) combined.
Anyway, the fight. This is a master level bending battle made all the better by Huu's very unique style, which is unlike anything the Gaang has ever faced before. Aang showcases some impressive moves, but the focus is really more on Katara, who for the first time is getting to pit her mastery of waterbending against a fellow master. We see her bust out some impressive moves, but the part I think many people forget is that, in the end, Huu had Katara beaten. She slices his plant monster up, but then he recovers and snares her with a bunch of vines. Then Aang makes it back, intervenes, they start talking, Avatar and spiritual stuff, etc.
So yeah, very impressive fight where Huu more than holds his own against the Avatar and a water bending master. He tags Aang multiple times, has Katara beaten, and the whole time didn't want to seriously hurt them either. Oh, and cool stuff from Aang and Katara too, I guess. That tornado move Aang uses is pretty nifty, as are Katara's water blade things.
But I love Huu.
2. Toph vs Aang
Honestly, this isn't really much of a fight, but I'm including it because it's been the subject of a lot of debate at points. Toph's strength has already been established, but in this fight we see her weakness-Aang. The guy is tailor made to fight someone like Toph.
I've heard people say that, if this fight had continued, or if Toph had known she wasn't fighting an earth bender, she would have won. Sorry, but I disagree. Sure, after Aang's first attack Toph would have realized she wasn't fighting an earth bender. That doesn't mean she would suddenly know exactly how to fight Aang or be able to counter his airbending effectively. If she had kept fighting, Aang would have eventually gotten serious, and Toph is in no way prepared here to face an airbender like Aang. She starts the fight serious but can't tag him. Aang doesn't want to fight but accidentally blasts her off the platform on reflex. That should make it very clear where Toph and Aang stand.
Toph is great and all, but Aang is her kryptonite. Sure she can adapt and learn, but that doesn't change that she's at an inherent disadvantage against Aang from the start.
The only way Toph could have won this fight is if she acted out of character and went all out with AOE and the like while Aang continued to hold way back. Even that's a maybe considering Aang's agility and defensive prowess.
3. Azula vs Zuko vs Aang (and friends)
OMG AZULA SOLOS ALL!!!!!!!!!!! BLUE FIRE!!!!!!!!! PRODIGY!!!!!! TEAM BUSTER!!!!
Ok, let's take a look at this fight. Azula is clearly the dominant figure here, don't get me wrong. She handles Zuko easily, gets Aang pinned, and when everyone gangs up on her she escapes. She's good, I'll give her that. But she's not the invincible, Gaang-busting ultimate fighter some try to use this fight to say she is. Here's why
1st-Aang: Aang goes into this fight exhausted (the whole Gaang's sleep deprived by this point), so he's already not at his best. He tells Azula he's gonna stand and fight, but then Zuko shows up, and what does Aang do when the fighting commences? He turns and tries to fly away. Maybe it's cause he realized how much better Azula is than Zuko, or maybe it's because he didn't want to try to fight both Zuko and Azula. Either way, he quickly reverts back to his avoid and evade tactics, and that's really all he does for the entire fight. He jumps around, plays defense, and doesn't attack. There might be a couple brief wind bursts after he's joined by Katara and Sokka, but that's it. Really, Aang's not fighting anyone here. He's just running around until he eventually gets pinned down.
2nd-Katara: Katara joins the fight with just a pouch of water. Enough to rescue Aang from Azula? Sure. Enough to really be a viable threat? Not so much. So yeah, Azula was fighting Katara here, but with Katara the amount of water makes all the difference. So fighting off Katara in this instance isn't enough to indicate being able to fight Katara with a sizable water source.
3rd-Toph: So Toph has a perfect opportunity to take Azula down from behind and end the fight. But what does she do? She shifts the ground beneath Azula a bit. That's it, and honestly it seems pretty out of character for Toph. It's also worth noting that right after this is when Azula abandons all efforts to fight and starts to flat out run, she knows she can't take all four and she doesn't even try.
Let me repeat myself: she runs as soon as she's faced with the whole Gaang. She does not fight them, she does not solo them. She runs.
4th-the escape: Yeah, this is a pretty solid scene for Azula. She knows she can't fight everyone, and she manages to get away through cunning and deception. Good for her. But there's a couple things to mention. First, Iroh was in the middle of realizing that Toph was with the Avatar (would have been a bit of a surprise). Thinking like Iroh, he was also likely concerned that she would attack one of the kids if anyone. He wouldn't have been near as worried about himself (cause he's Iroh and he's awesome like that). So yeah, Azula tagged him, but it was more of a cheap shot than actually taking him down in a fight. Second, Azula blocking the combined attacks. Nice showing for her, but let's be clear-those were hardly anyone's strongest attacks.
I mean, Aang's throwing out a very small burst of air, Katara's got her water pouch, Toph seems to be launching some dirt at her, and Zuko's got a relatively weak flame stream going. And Sokka's boomerang.
So yeah, she blocked 4 (5-boomerang) attacks, but they weren't exactly impressive attacks. They were the reactions of a startled Gaang + Zuko. Just to keep things in perspective.
In conclusion: Azula's good, and this fight shows it. But it doesn't make her a Gaang-buster
4. Azula vs Aang
This is, I think, the first time we see Aang use primarily elements other than air in a fight. It's one of the only fights I can think of where we see him bending more than 2 elements (the only other one being his fight with Ozai). Which is cool, but it's also kinda dumb on Aang's part. Logically, he should have blasted her off the drill with airbending from the beginning, not tried using small water whips. He has the strength and skill to do that pretty easily. Then again, Azula also could have killed Aang as soon as she blasted through his earth shield instead of taking time to enjoy the moment, so I guess fair is fair.
That being said, it is pretty cool to see how Aang fights without airbending. Makes for a welcome change of pace, even if it's not the most logical option. Azula also gets some nice moves from this, mainly her flip-kick-spin-whatever one.
5. Team Avatar vs Dai Li
Very cool fight scene. For fodder, the Dai Li are surprisingly competent benders (granted, sometimes they just stand still and let Jet come up and take them down, but overall they're pretty good). This is one of those rare times when nameless opponents actually present a real danger to team Avatar, and while it's always fun to watch the Gaang plow through hoards of Earth Kingdom soldiers and invade the palace, it's also kind of refreshing for them to face a legitimate challenge.
Toph's probably the star of this fight scene. Most people remember the bit where she took out 4-5 Dai Li in fewer seconds. However, not as many people remember what happened immediately after that scene.
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that is Toph Beifong being tagged by the Dai Li and rescued by Jet. She's an amazing earth bender, but she's not untouchable or invincible. Always good to have a reminder of that.
6. Team Avatar vs the Earth Palace
This fight's pretty simple, and that's the beauty of it. It's just the Gaang plowing through anyone who stands in their way. They've grown into quite the formidable team, in stark contrast to where they were at the beginning of Book 1. Granted, the palace guards aren't exactly high-end benders, and sometimes they kinda just stand there to get knocked over, but hey-that's what fodder is for.
7. Katara and Aang vs Zuko and Azula
This one's far more complex than the Earth Palace invasion. I'm gonna discuss it in parts
Aang vs Zuko: This is the best fighting we've seen from Zuko in the entire series. He's had time to train with Iroh since fighting Azula, he's more composed than we've ever really seen him, and it shows. He uses exceptionally powerful blasts to shatter Aang's shield, massive fire whips, and overall is far more impressive in his fire bending than we've usually seen him. Aang starts out fighting with his airbending, and he's doing fine. Lands the first hit, evades Zuko's, etc. The problem comes when he starts trying to earthbend. When he drops that large rock to attack Zuko, he ends up doing as much damage to himself as he does to Zuko. Zuko recovers quickly and gets right back up, but Aang does't fully recover until after Zuko has traded places with Azula. Not the best move on Aang's part.
Katara vs Azula: You wanna rustle some jimmies? Bring up this battle. Ok, here we go. This is the first time Azula has really seen Katara in action, so it is possible she underestimated Katara's abilities. That being said, it still stands that Katara had a very clear upper hand in this fight. She blocks all of Azula's attacks, lands a shot of her own, then grabs Azula in her water arms. There are lots of ways to try to argue this, from "the fight was inconclusive and Azula could have escaped," to "Azula let it happen so Zuko would come over and she could switch places because she wanted to fight Aang" (I've seen someone try to use that before). The way I see it-it's pretty simple. Katara was winning, and there was no indication that anything would have changed without Zuko's intervention. Katara-1, Azula-0.
Azula vs Aang: Not so much of a fight as a short clash. Cool fire bending move from Azula, cool earthbending move from Aang. While I appreciate Aang's efforts to be more direct, in this case it was a mistake. He's tried to match Azula's strength with his earthbending before and failed, he tried to match Zuko's strength with earthbending and failed. When they charge up a large attack, he can't block or match it with earthbending. At least not yet.
As a side note: the Fire Nation is at war with the Earth Kingdom; Azula and Zuko know how to fight earth benders. Toph is an expert at fighting other earthbenders, not at fighting fire benders. Personally, I think this has something to do with why Aang's earthbending was never particularly effective against Azula or Zuko, despite being shown to be quite proficient even by the end of Book 2
Zuko (and Azula) vs Katara: Zuko and Katara clash for a bit, water whips vs fire whips. Nothing substantial, just enough to show that Katara can't fodderize Zuko. It is worth noting that Zuko is easily countering the technique that overcame Azula. Zuko's training with the dragons is often looked to as the point where he entered the next tier of fire bending, but I think it could also just as easily have been this fight. Anyway, they clash a bit, then Azula comes and together the siblings overwhelm Katara.
And then everyone knows how it ends, Dai Li, Avatar State yip yip, lightning, tears, Iroh, escape, end. I think pretty much everyone understands that Azula taking down Aang was a cheap shot only possible because he was in the process of unlocking the Avatar State. Still good for her.
ATLA Book 3
1. Sokka vs Piandao
This is Sokka's first (and really, his only) major fight scene. Throughout the series, Sokka's has tended to do relatively well in combat, but because his fights are usually against fodder and less impressive than bending they're easy to overlook. This episode, and this fight in particular, was meant to make it clear that, while Sokka's primary role is the strategist and comic relief, he is also a warrior worthy of respect.
This fight's also noteworthy as the biggest nonbending battle of the series. The only other one I can think of is Zuko vs Jet, but that wasn't as long or, imo, significant as this one.
2. Katara vs Hama
I think most would agree that this is the creepiest fight of ATLA. For a minor, one episode character, Hama left a huge impact on Avatar with her discovery of bloodbending.
Hama's a crafty, highly skilled master waterbender, but she's also old, bitter, and far from being in her prime. Katara, who Hama in a way sees as a younger version of herself and a way to continue her legacy, proves her talent by absorbing Hama's knowledge, overcoming her blood bending, and besting her in a brief but intense duel (the only true water vs water fight in the series other than Katara vs Pakku).
When Aang and Sokka show up, Hama forces Katara to become a blood bender herself. Once Katara takes that step into the darkness, she can never fully come back. There's a noticeable edge to Katara for the rest of the series that wasn't really present before she blood bent: the way she threatens to kill Zuko, her quest vengeance on those who killed her mothers, her confidence going up against an insane Azula. Her waterbending abilities have passed another test, and her confidence has grown because of it.
3. Team Avatar vs Combustion Man
I'm grouping the three fights together here because the basics of all of them are pretty much the same. Sparky Sparky Boom Man comes and blows everything up.
Combustion Man is the first real team-buster villain. (Yeah, not Azula. It's Combustion Man). He's quite simply on a level above anything the Gaang is prepared to deal with. A professional assassin, he's clearly quite capable, tracking down Aang in the middle of nowhere, setting a trap for him by baiting Toph, etc. It's easy to overlook, but he found Aang more easily than Zuko or Toph ever did with much less to work with. His fighting style is simple but brutally effective, and twice he forces the Gaang to run (This is the battle-hardened Gaang that swept through the Earth King's palace). Aang admits it in their very first encounter-they can't beat him.
Finally, there comes the third and final battle. Aang and Katara attack to no avail. Zuko tries to intervene, but he poses no threat to Combustion Man. Then, Sokka has his moment of glory. A well placed boomerang throw strikes Combustion Man, blocks his chi, and results in his explosion backfiring. Personally, I think this was the perfect way to deal with Combustion Man. The boomerang's range and angular attack made it perfect to get around Combustion Man's offense and take advantage of his (admittedly very convenient) weakness. Props to Sokka.
4. Azula and Dai Li vs Aang, Toph, Sokka
OMG AZULA BEAT THE GAANG WITHOUT HER BENDING!!!! FASTER THAN AANG!!! TOPH CANT TOUCH HER!!!! INVINCIBLE!!!! PRODIGY!!!! BLUE FIRE!!!!!
Sorry. Azula wank annoys me.
Anyway, this is a good showing for Azula. She's got some solid agility, and her manipulation skills are top notch. But this scene by no means makes her an untouchable powerhouse. I'd like to clarify a few things
First, Aang's offense is pretty weak in this fight.
As a couple examples to highlight what I mean by this. He's capable of so much better. So yeah, Azula evaded Aang's attacks. Let's just keep in mind what those attacks were. She evaded the attacks he chose to use, that does not mean she can evade all of his attacks. There's no reason Aang shouldn't have been able to tag Azula with his better attacks. He just didn't, because...reasons, I guess. The power of plot.
Second, Azula did not evade multiple attacks from Toph. She evaded one attack. Was it a nice feat? Absolutely. But it was just one attack.
Third, the Dai Li were there helping Azula. Give the Dai Li credit, they're quite capable in this scene. Makes sense that Azula would pick the best to be her personal guards during the eclipse. We can't just forget about their impact.
This battle tends to get used to overrate Azula even more than the 3 way fight. Again, don't mistake this for me saying she's bad. She's not at all. But I'd like to keep things in perspective.
5. Zuko, Sokka, Suki vs Azula, Ty Lee
Zuko's first real fight with the Gaang, Suki's best fight scene, Ty Lee's last real fight, all in all this is pretty significant.
First, I'd like to acknowledge Sokka. Poor guy is a swordsman in a cartoon where he can't cut anyone. His options are therefore pretty limited. He does his best, but honestly he doesn't contribute much to this fight.
Second, Zuko vs Azula. If there was any doubt about Zuko being able to stand up to Azula, let it end now. Compare his performance here to his fight in the abandoned village. He handles everything she throws at him, returns in kind, and is overall evenly matched with her. You can see his fighting style has changed to reflect his time with the dragons. This fight makes it clear that the rivalry between Zuko and Azula will continue, but it is no longer one-sided.
Third, Suki vs Ty Lee. This episode was really Suki's turn to shine. She was good in earlier appearances, but nothing she had done would suggest that she was capable of stalemating Ty Lee. They go blow for blow, seeming as evenly matched as Zuko and Azula. It's pretty short, but also pretty significant for establishing Suki's abilities.
I don't have any proof of this, but it seems to me that Suki got better during her time in prison. There's only so much living on a small island can prepare you for, and when Azula and co attacked the Kyoshi warriors it was clear that, while the warriors were good, they were not in the same league as the Fire Nation team. Imo, Suki resolved to make sure she was ready for the next encounter, and she was. Training, fitness, idk what options she would have had in prison, but she seems to have done something, and it worked.
6. Zuko vs Azula (Air Temple)
If you wanted more proof that Zuko has risen to a level where he can match Azula, here you go. This fight's about as even as you can get. It's short, intense, and a great set up for the final Agni Kai.
I'd like to take a moment to appreciate the insane amount of luck Zuko had in landing on an airship when he fell. It's actually incredible.
Azula's starting to lose her composure here. She's always been something of a psychopath (or is it sociopath?), but here it's become quite clear. People often try to use that to discredit this fight as proof of Zuko being able to match Azula, saying that she wasn't fighting at her best because she was starting to go insane. However, if her fighting ability were significantly impacted, Zuko would have noticed. If he was able to see that she was slipping within a minute of talking with her before the Agni Kai, he surely would have recognized a decrease in her fighting abilities after actually fighting her. But he didn't, leaving us to conclude that Azula was still fighting at the same level.
6 The Sozin's Comet Battles:
That's Aang vs Ozai, Zuko and Katara vs Azula, Sokka and Toph and Suki vs the airship fleet, and the White Lotus vs Ba Sing Se.
Idk what there is to say here that hasn't already been said. These fights are beautiful and amazing. Awesome stuff all around.
Aang's fighting like we've never seen him fight before, using his earth and air in conjunction far more effectively, throwing in some water and fire at times (though earth and air are still his preferred elements). While it's not enough to overcome Ozai's relentless, enhanced offense, the fact that he's does so well with unenhanced bending is a credit to his abilities and growth.
Also, a moment to appreciate the incredible luck that Aang re-opened the Avatar State by hitting his back with an amazingly convenient rock. And the random lion turtle. Textbook deus ex machina, and I'm perfectly ok with it.
Azula vs Zuko is a beautiful fight. Really just very impressive. The roles have been reversed, and now it's Zuko who's calm and in control while Azula rages. Zuko is winning forcing Azula to attack Katara, lightning, etc. You all know what happens. Katara takes advantage of Azula's insanity to trap her, they win, the end.
Toph gets to really showcase her metal bending against the airships. According to real world physics she should have been roasted fighting enhanced fire benders in a metal suit, but this is Avatar, and it's wonderful. Sokka apparently learned how to operate the airship after they took one to escape Boiling Rock (I checked on that while writing this), and he puts that knowledge to good use.
RIP space sword and boomerang, though Sokka used you both impressively in the end.
Suki saves the day, not entirely sure how she managed that but she did
And last but not least, the White Lotus. A few old guys tearing through the Fire Nation, just perfection. The only problem with this fight is that it wasn't long enough.
Honestly, there's no reason the White Lotus had to go to Ba Sing Se. It could have waited, and the Lotus could have gone to help with one of the other battles. Just worth pointing out
Well, that's pretty much what I've got for ATLA battles. This ended up being pretty long, so I'll stop here and do LOK later.
I'd like to work on creating some respect threads for different Avatar characters, featuring gifs and stuff to showcase their feats. The purpose of this blog is to act as a directory, where I'll post links to all the respect threads to hopefully make them easier to find.
If you have any requests for characters to get a respect thread, let me know.
Obviously anyone's welcome to contribute to a respect thread I make. If you want to start one, let me know and I can include a link to it here
I'm thinking that the first one I'll make will be a Mako and Bolin thread, so stay tuned. I won't be posting those as blogs
In this blog I'm going to discuss some of the challenges Aang and Korra faced in their journey to fulfilling their role as the Avatar. Both Avatars faced obstacles, however the obstacles they encountered were extremely different.
Aang's main challenge in fulfilling his role as the Avatar was that he didn't want to be the Avatar. Frozen for a hundred years, he found himself in a strange new world in desperate need of a powerful Avatar to restore balance. Aang, a light-hearted 12 year old, wasn't ready for this kind of responsibility. All he wanted to do was return to his old life, the life of a normal child. However, outside pressure, from enemies hunting him down to allies in need of his help, forced Aang to accept his role as the Avatar.
Because there were many people throughout the world who wanted an Avatar, Aang was able to find guidance in his journey to become the Avatar. He found training from great masters, support from entire villages and cities, counsel from wise advisors. His enemies, the Fire Nation, drove him to accept his responsibility in their own way by forcing him to protect himself and his friends.
Throughout the series, there was never any doubt as to Aang's ultimate task: restore balance to the world by defeating the Fire Nation. His allies encouraged him towards this goal, and the Fire Nation recognized him as the biggest potential obstacle to their expansion. The job was daunting, to be sure, but it was also straightforward, leaving little room for doubt.
Aang's mission may have been well-defined, but that didn't make it easy. He was an orphan who, in what to him was an instant, lost his entire world. He was a child with the weight of the world on his shoulders, a peaceful monk forcibly thrust into a world of violence and chaos. Fulfilling his Avatar duties required Aang to undergo immense personal growth, challenged his morality to the core, and forced him to experience things no one, let alone a child, should ever have to experience.
Unlike Aang, Korra was raised as the Avatar, a role she embraced and was eager to accept. In many ways, her problems were the opposite of Aang's. While Aang hesitated to fulfill his role in a world that wanted an Avatar, Korra sought to find a place in a world that denied the need for an Avatar.
Unlike Aang, Korra was denied a normal childhood. From her early years she was raised and trained in a specialized compound, carefully monitored and kept separate from the rest of the world. While this could be considered an advantage, I see it as just as much if not more of a disadvantage. Korra was confined, sheltered, and overall held back. While Aang was encouraged to step up and take his place in the world, Korra was discouraged, told instead to stay out of the way. The White Lotus wanted to keep her under supervision, Tenzin was highly reluctant to train her, President Reiko wanted her out of Republic City, Lin hoped to prevent her from seeking out the Red Lotus. When people such as Tarrlok or Unalaq did seek her involvement, it was because they wanted the Avatar's assistance. Rather, it was simply because they sought to use her to further their own ends. In order to fulfill her role as the Avatar, Korra had to break through this opposition and establish a place for herself. She constantly had to prove her worth and show the world that she could and would make a difference.
Korra's path as the Avatar was also never as clear cut as Aang's mission to defeat the Fire Lord. Her's was a world of conflicting ideologies, complex politics, and unclear responsibilities. In this complex world, there was no overall consensus on what Korra's responsibilities were like there was for Aang. Everyone wanted different things from Korra, and few of those actually wanted something from her that would help her truly be the Avatar.
While Ozai's quest for conquest was clearly wrong, Korra's villains all had some level of reasoning that Korra could agree with. They had justifiable reasons for their actions, leading to questions as to whether they should really be stopped. In ATLA, however, there was never any real question that the defeat of the Fire Nation was good.
While Korra faced many challenges Aang never had to deal with, she also did not have to face many of the challenges Aang had to overcome. Korra had her family and a home to fall back on, a stable and secure foundation for her life. She was an adult in her prime, better equipped to establish herself in the world than Aang was.
Aang and Korra each faced very different, but equally difficult, challenges in their quest to become the Avatar. Obviously the above description of the kinds of challenges they faced does not always apply (for instance: Aang had to navigate complex politics of Ba Sing Se and deal with the Dai Li's efforts to sideline him, while Korra's quest to defeat Unalaq was, in the end, very clear and defined). However I think it gives a reasonable overview of the differences in the challenges they faced.
This wasn't as well written as I hoped it would be, but I hope that it provides something for further discussion and stuff.
Ever since LOK came out, anything comparing Aang and Korra (who's the better Avatar, who would win in a fight, etc.) has been a hotly debated subject. In this blog, I'm going to address some of these topics, such as their comparative skill in the elements, the challenges they faced, their ways of dealing with problems, and so on. They way I see it, both Avatars have their respective strengths and weaknesses, and that is what makes them both interesting characters. While one might be better or worse in certain aspects, neither is truly better than the other.
The first topic I'd like to talk about is how Aang and Korra compare in terms of their respective bending abilities, making sure they both get the respect they deserve for their skill while also determining who is better in that element
In Legend of Korra, air is the last element for Korra to master, and it is also the one she has most difficulty with. While she could not airbed at all throughout most of Book 1, by Book 2 she had become proficient in the art. Throughout the rest of the series, air became one of her most commonly used elements. She has demonstrated very respectable power and skill, proving herself to be a better airbender than I think many people tend to give her credit for
Here's a few gifs to demonstrate some of her capabilities
However, while Korra has shown respectable skill in airbending, air is Aang's native element, and when it comes to airbending Aang is simply on another level. His raw bending power is some of the highest in the series, for any element, and throughout the series he demonstrated incredible skill and versatility. He incorporates airbending into his every movement, enhancing his speed and agility and leading Toph to give him the nickname Twinkle Toes, showing his affinity for and mastery of the element.
Some gifs to demonstrate Aang's airbending
Obviously both Aang and Korra have lots of other airbending feats, this is just a sampling.
In conclusion, while Korra has come a long way in airbending, it's quite safe to say that Aang is the superior airbender.
Water is the second element Aang learns, and from the beginning he appears to be a natural, easily picking up Katara's basic moves. Despite this, water is one of Aang's least used elements, second only to fire. While he was certainly competent at waterbending, he was never particularly outstanding, particularly in terms of combat feats.
Air is Aang's natural element, but water is Korra's. While she doesn't use waterbending as frequently as Aang used airbending (after all, air is much common than water), when she did the results could be very impressive. Trained by Katara, Korra has demonstrated some of the strongest water bending in either series, rivaling Aang's airbending in strength, as well as high precision and versatility, from ice and steam manipulation to casual waterspouts. Korra has also demonstrated healing abilities, a skill learned from Katara that Aang never acquired.
While Aang was clearly intended to be skilled at waterbending, Korra is a natural waterbender with more and better feats. Just as Aang was the better airbender, Korra is the better waterbender
Earth was the element Aang had the most difficulty learning (as it is air's opposite). However, after unlocking the ability, Aang quickly made earth his second most used element, demonstrating extensive power and skill. By the end of book 3, he had learned to incorporate his airbending enhanced agility into his earth bending, as well as use of Toph's seismic sense (while the seismic sense is not as significant an advantage as some would make it out to be, it is a useful skill). His strength and versatility put him among the top earth benders of the series.
Some of Aang's feats
Earth bending has never been Korra's most spectacular element, but it has always been solid throughout the series. She has demonstrated a variety of attacks and, by the season finale, raw power to compete with Aang's. However, Korra's earth bending abilities are not limited to just rock. In season 3, Korra learned how to metalbend, quickly developing proficiency in the skill. This ability, something Aang was unable to learn, adds greatly to her versatility.
Earth isn't as clear cut as air and water have been. In terms of pure earthbending, Aang as a strong edge. He demonstrates greater raw power with more consistency and has shown a wider variety of skills. However, when it comes to special techniques, Korra has the advantage with her knowledge of metalbending. Overall, I would say Aang is the superior earth bender, with his greater ability in pure earthbending making up for his lack of metalbending.
Fire was the last element Aang learned, and it was his least used element. Even so, he has demonstrated reasonable skill in the art. Learning from the dragon masters helped Aang come to a better understanding of the true nature of fire, and his training with Zuko gave him useful skills to use in the battle against Ozai. The most useful technique Aang learned from Zuko was lightning redirection, a highly specialized technique few other fire benders in either series have demonstrated.
Unlike Aang, Korra has made consistent use of fire bending from the beginning of the series, and for much of the series it was her go to element for fighting. She has demonstrated great power with fire as well as skill, casually negating other fire blasts and using fire jets for propulsion.
Overall, while Aang has the specialized skill of lightning redirection, Korra has demonstrated greater raw power and skill in fire bending, making her the superior fire bender.
Air=Aang. He is a natural airbender and a prodigious master who has demonstrated some of the greatest power and creativity with this element that we have seen from any bender.
Water=Korra. This is Korra's native element and her best. While it's use may be limited by the environment, when Korra does use waterbending she has proven herself to be a formidable powerhouse.
Earth=Aang. Aang has shown greater raw power on a more consistent basis, as well as a greater variety of techniques and skills. By the season finale Korra had narrowed the gap with her advancements in metal bending and high end demonstrations of power, but there is a reason earth is Aang's second most favored element.
Fire=Korra. The direct, forceful nature of fire bending is well suited to Korra's aggressive, straightforward fighting style, and she has repeatedly shown herself to be a powerful and skillful fire bender. Despite his training from the dragons and mastery of lightning redirection, Aang has shown very little in the way of fire bending to compare.
Aang tends to focus heavily on air and earth bending, and has consistently demonstrated high end feats in those elements. His airbending is second to none, and his earth bending is among the best in Avatar. However, when it comes to waterbending and fire bending, Aang is significantly lacking. He rarely uses these elements, and while he is suggested to have skill in their use, has done little to demonstrate it.
Korra, on the other hand, frequently alternates the elements, using them simultaneously (water is used less frequently only because it is less abundant and therefore less practical). While she might not have consistently demonstrated the same level of power and versatility in a single element as Aang has with airbending, she is overall more balanced in her elemental usage, blending them together into a fighting style that draws on techniques from all four disciplines.
Those are my thoughts on Aang and Korra's bending abilities and how they compare. My plan is for this to be the first in a series of blogs giving my thoughts on some of the differences and similarities between Aang and Korra-thier respective challenges, their fighting styles, etc. Feel free to comment, discuss, challenge, etc. There may be more I have to add to this blog, but even if there is it won't be anything major. If anything it will just be gifs (I enjoy good gifs)
Hope you enjoy, and ideally this'll lead to some good conversation.